Don’t let those sugar-eating bacteria ruin your smile

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Streptococcus_mutans_01
These little buggers, called Streptococcus mutans, are one of the types of bacteria that create high levels of acid in your mouth.

It’s normal for there to be bacteria in our mouths. In fact, there are more bacteria in our mouth than there are people in the world! They also happen to love sugar just as much as the rest of us, and when you eat some, guess what? They eat it too! However, one of the waste products created when they eat sugar is acid. The more sugar you eat, the more acid they produce, and the more your teeth are harmed! Ouch.

If you want some nice pearly whites, stay away from sugary products like candy, soda, ice cream, and sports drinks. The sugar in these unhealthy treats are a jackpot for the bacteria, and the acid they make will definitely rot your teeth to the core. Besides, most of these things are bad for your health anyways. Avoiding them will not only give you a nice set of chompers, but staying sugar free will also reduce your weight!

Okay, you get it. Avoid sugar. We’ve all heard that plenty of times before. What’s definitely less known, is that starchy foods like white bread, pretzels, pizza crust, and french fries are bad for teeth too! The starch in these foods gets stuck in between your teeth, where your saliva breaks them down into a sugary meal the bacteria love to dig into! Oy! Those bacteria just sit around waiting to pounce.

No wonder dentists recommend we brush our teeth after every meal. Lets face it, though, brushing that many times a day can be a real hassle. Fortunately, there’s other options for tackling those acid-spewing bacteria. Eating healthy, water-rich vegetables can dilute the sugar in your mouth, and just drinking water in general is a great way to flush out the sugar altogether. Last but not least, eat plenty of calcium-packed food, like yogurt and milk, to strengthen your teeth! Your enamel – the hard material that covers and protects your teeth – will be grateful.

If you follow these tips, people will be asking you to star in toothpaste commercials! At the very least, your dentist will be very proud of you. So come on, just keep your teeth clean. Do you really want to have to grow new teeth from your pee? Didn’t think so.